Why is the earth like the mother?
For many Hindus it is customary to touch the ground with reverence on stepping out of bed. To all Hindus the earth is a mother. It provides all the needs of mankind just as a mother provides the needs of a child. The practice of touching the earth gives us an opportunity to convey our gratitude to Mother Earth and to God, who made it.
Our body is constituted of minerals that come from within the earth and the environment that surrounds it. Even the food we eat comes from the earth. The water we drink and the medicines we consume also come from the earth. Each of us is indebted to Mother Earth for her bounty. It is our helplessness that we cannot help placing our feet on the mother who gives so much. Our apologies and gratitude are the only solution to this predicament.
In the Vishwamitra Smriti, 1/44-45, the following prayer is suggested:
One who is covered with the great oceans as clothes, one who cares for all living beings in the universe, one who gives life through the streams of milk that flow in the form of rivers, one whose breasts are in the form of the great mountains, 0 Mother Earth, wife of Vishnu, forgive me for placing my feet upon you.
When we revere Mother Earth we also revere our motherland where we are born, brought up and live.